Wednesday, January 14, 2009

dried up by the process

Geraldine Hallbuck buried her head in the sand.


She'd been born with a head that could be detached by jiggling a little latch on each side of her neck. She rarely did it, but sometimes, when she was feeling weary, sore or worn down, she would take it off for a bit and then sleep so deep that she almost could touch the fullness of her dreams.


With her head off, the blood was contained by temporary clots, and she kept air coming and going through a little valve that opened and closed mechanically. It heaved forcefully when it opened, but only made a small, tinny rattling sound when it shut.


Geraldine had lived a life that seemed mythical to everyone but her. She'd been places and done things and was able to relay details to her friends and family using words that themselves seemed cloaked in magic.


But now, at her late middle age, Geraldine mostly just felt bored. She felt so dried up by the process of doing and telling that she was afraid she'd break apart and blow away if a gust of any significance lurched up.


And it was at this point of her life that she dug a hole in the grainy, ungentle place where shore meets sea, jiggled the latches for one last time, took her head off, and buried it.


"Let it be a time capsule, a life and times capsule," she said. "May future generations find it and relish the things they find in it, the supposed magic. Let them have it. All of it. I never believed it, so it was never really mine."


She set down the shovel.


As she sprawled out on the hot sand under the hot sun, ready to rest, her breath valve tinkled shut, and reversing for a sudden last time, she let out a heave so loud and powerful that all the continents fragmented like a massive puzzle. The ocean welled up and covered all of it. Nothing remained.

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